Govt investing in warehouses to improve grain quality 

Tonga grain facility in Mubende District is among those that government is supporting to improve grain quality. Photo / Courtesy 

What you need to know:

  • Government, through the Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority, is extending support to private owners of warehouses to improve grain quality 

The Government will now support the grain sub-sector with the view of strengthening Uganda’s position in the export market, according to the Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority. 

Speaking during a tour of Tonga Investment grain facility in Mubende District, which is now under redevelopment to fit the ware house receipt standards, Ms Deborah Kyarasiime, the Uganda warehouse Receipt System Authority managing director, said there has been a race to beat quality related challenges raised by importers of Ugandan grain, which now requires government to hand-hold selected grain handling facilities and traders to meet internationally accepted standards.

“We have noted that a number of players in this sector are just buyers and sellers of grain without any professionalism. So, what we are doing now is to introduce standards to them and those that fit the bill will be offered licenses,” she said.  

Under the warehouse receipt system, farmers bulk their produce, sometimes through cooperatives, and store it in a gazetted licensed warehouse where they are issued with a receipt that can be used to search for markets or stake as collateral to access funding. 

Tonga Investment is among some of the grain facilities that government, through the Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority, is receiving support to offer grain storage services from farmers in the Mityana area. 

There has been concern among grain dealers and recipient countries including Kenya and South Sudan in regard to the quality of Uganda’s maize. 

Ms Kyarasiime said that part of the problem resides in poor post-harvest handling, noting that “besides licensing, Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority, will now support some warehouse operators to develop facilities that meet required standards. 

Mr Robert Mwanje, the Tonga Investments managing director, said part of the support extended through the Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority includes installation of a way bridge, cleaner and grain dryer.

“The winner in this investment is the farmer, because they will have a clean and standardised facility where they can store and market their produce,” he said.

Mr Mwanje, who is also the chairman of the Uganda Grain Council, noted that they were now mobilising farmers across the country to utilise standardised storage facilities in a bid to lower post-harvest losses. 

Government, through the public private sector model, is working with private warehouse owners to offer grain warehousing services across the country with the aim of boosting farmers’ incomes, grain quality and positioning  Uganda as a major grain producer and exporter.